Survey says...

We’ve tallied up the responses to our readers’ survey and you say you like The Penn Current. But you also say that you want more from the paper—longer stories and more coverage of workplace matters.

So we’re making some big changes in content and appearance, starting with our Jan. 24 issue.

Whether you read the paper in print or on-line, those of you who responded to our survey give the paper high marks for overall quality, quality of writing and appearance. And you find many of our regular features useful and interesting.

But you’d like to see more reporting on matters that relate to your work life, more stories about your fellow staffers and more news about what Penn as an institution is up to. Many of you would simply like to be able to find the paper around campus. And one of you bemoaned the Current’s lack of a crossword puzzle.

We’ve done some work on making the paper easier to find, revamping our distribution system. And come January, we will be doing some work on the rest of the things you said you’d like to see. Unfortunately, a crossword puzzle is not among them, but the changes we are making address many of your concerns.

First among them is improved and expanded coverage of worklife matters. A new column, “Ask Benny,” will be devoted to answering your questions about benefits and worklife issues—as well as other questions you may have about Penn as an institution or as a place to work.

For those of you who would like the paper to reflect the University’s staff more, the paper has already increased the number of stories about staff matters and employee photos; these changes will become even more noticeable in January, with the addition of a new staff photo feature.

And for those of you who asked for longer, more in-depth stories on University initiatives and policies, the new Current will occasionally feature special reports on major issues in a two-page center spread.

All of this comes in a redesigned package that will allow greater flexibility in page layout and story lengths.

Survey results

Among the highlights of the survey, to which 319 Penn staff, faculty, students and alumni responded:

Content: Our readers found most of the Current’s content interesting, especially the events calendar, the Staff Q&A, the cover Q&A with University newsmakers and the stories about research.

While several readers liked the fact that stories were generally short and easy to read, many respondents wanted to see more reporting and longer stories, especially on the subject of benefits and work life.

Quality: The majority of our respondents gave the Current high marks in overall quality, physical appearance and quality of writing. Fifty-seven percent of our readers rated the paper excellent or very good in both overall quality and quality of writing, and 55 percent gave it those marks in physical appearance.

Awareness/readership: A majority of our respondents (178) said they saw the paper at least sometimes when they were on campus, and a slightly larger number—183—said they picked up a copy at least sometimes. And the same number of people who said they saw the paper at least sometimes on campus said they looked at the on-line edition every issue.

The first issue of the new Penn Current will appear Jan. 24. Look for it in a building lobby or your departmental mailbox.

Originally published on November 29, 2001